Perdue: I-485 on 'fast-track' to finish in 2014
The end of the decades long I-485 outer-belt project in Charlotte could finally be in sight. The governor today announced a private-public funding model that will be a first in the state. The project will draw from financing from private contractors, a federal loan program and the state's highway trust fund. Private contractors would design, build and finance their portions, which transportation officials estimate at $50 million for this project. And the state would pay that back over 10 years. Governor Bev Perdue announced back in February the project would pick up at the end of the year. But the recession walloped the state's coffers and talk of 485 died down. Today, Perdue happily touted the plan. "We're going to do more for less. That's big to me because we've got a lot of needs in North Carolina," she said. "And we're going to do it faster. Faster is important to the people in the Charlotte metro area and it's also important to the people in the state of North Carolina." The head of North Carolina's Concrete Pavement Association says this is good news for contractors who've been hurting because state funding has been very slow. But Jerry Reece says the model would be unfair to smaller contractors, who just don't have the resources to finance projects.